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Friday, 2 November, 2001, 11:06 GMT
This Morning shrinks in size
Fern Britton
Fern Britton in BBC One's Celeb at Work series
ITV's flagship daytime show This Morning is to cut its running time by 30 minutes.

The change comes as Fern Britton, best known for the BBC's Ready Steady Cook, takes over as host.

It takes effect from November 12 - one week after Ms Britton takes the helm.

She will alternate her appearances with the other presenters, John Leslie and Coleen Nolan.

Model Twiggy was axed from the show just a month into her contract, when the series returned from its summer break.

Model Twiggy
Fired: 60s icon Twiggy

ITV has denied the latest measure was related to the show's falling ratings since its original presenters, Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan, left for a lucrative Channel 4 deal.

A spokesman for This Morning said: "The length of the programme has always varied - but more often than not, it has been a 90-minute show."

ITV cornerstone

Richard and Judy fronted the show for 13 years, making it the cornerstone of ITV's daytime schedules, regularly pulling in audiences of two million.

Richard and Judy
Richard and Judy: favourites on ITV for 13 years

The husband-and-wife team developed their own combination of chat, current affairs, human interest stories and interviews.

Highlights of the show included the live screening of the wedding of two gay men, on Valentine's day this year.

This Morning also hit the headlines in 1999, when Dr Chris Steele conducted a testicular examination of a volunteer on camera to publicise the dangers of testicular cancer.

Richard and July left after they signed a two-year deal with Channel 4 to present a chat show - entitled Richard and Judy.

See also:

02 Oct 01 | TV and Radio
ITV confirms Twiggy axe
12 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
Richard and Judy bow out
19 Apr 99 | Entertainment
Springer presents UK TV show
04 May 01 | TV and Radio
Daytime TV's royal couple
12 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
A marriage made on morning TV
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